Miami-Dade High Schools

Norland’s Zach Johnson orally commits to Florida Gulf Coast

Zach Johnson’s oral commitment to Florida Gulf Coast University has a ringing endorsement from Miami Norland four-time state champion boys’ basketball coach Lawton Williams.

Johnson might have surprised some with his decision to pick Gulf Coast over more established programs such as Murray State, Georgia Southern, Florida State and Miami but Lawton believes Johnson-to-Gulf Coast is a perfect fit.

“In real estate, its location, location and timing,” Williams said. “Well it’s the right time for Zach to go there. Gulf Coast made the Sweet Sixteen last year and is an up and coming program.”

The 6-2 Johnson was known more for his athleticism upon his transfer from Miramar before last season but transformed into a better rounded prospect in Williams’ disciplined system.

Johnson averaged a modest 13.3 points last season before taking off in the post-season.

Johnson erupted for a game-high 29 points against Pines Charter in the class 6A Regional semifinals and then earned State Final Four MVP after leading Norland to its second consecutive state title. and fourth overall under Williams.

Williams’ said Johnson’s ability to break down defenders off the dribble and attack the basket with force will complement the Eagles under first-year coach and long-time Kansas assistant Joe Dooley.

Despite the coaching change, Williams believes the Eagles will remain among the NCAA elite after becoming the first 15 seed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

“I think Gulf Coast has a chance of winning their conference they are recruiting some good kids. They have changed the culture there. Zach does what they need. He is somebody that can get to the basket and score. They don’t have a slasher right now.”